CAMP HILL, PA Improving health and wellbeing can be as simple as going outdoors to enjoy Pennsylvania’s parks and forests. The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation recently completed a video series on the health benefits of outdoor recreation to inspire healthy, active lifestyles and connection with nature.
With 121 state parks, 2.2 million acres of state forest, and over 11,000 miles of hiking trails, Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests offer plenty of opportunity and free access to nature. There is a state park within 25 miles of almost every Pennsylvania with an array of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, canoeing, rafting, skiing, just a walk in the woods, and more. Activities like these have proven to be of great benefit to human health and wellbeing due to their ability to clear the mind, activate our senses, and get our bodies moving.
These health benefits are detailed in the full-length PPFF video, Health Benefits and Outdoor Recreation, produced with funding from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Community Conservation Partnership Program. The information is also available in smaller 36-second segments on the individual subject areas of physical, mental and emotional health. All videos created by Uproot Creative Services, LLC can be found on PPFF’s YouTube channel.
“The Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation believes that our parks and forests play an important role in protecting and improving human health. These videos support this conviction and motivate you to step on your own doorstep, ”said Marci Mowery, President of the Foundation. “We are grateful to the medical professionals and researchers who shared their knowledge to create these videos.”
A number of health and outdoor experts will be featured, including Dr. Michael Suk, Chief Physician Officer at Geisinger System Services, the common voice throughout the series. Dr. Suk explains that even walking outdoors can have real health benefits. The value of a forest walk is further enhanced by licensed forest therapy guide Michele Burton. Among those surveyed is Gail Witwer, director of health promotion for the Partnership for Better Health, who said the majority of Pennsylvanians surveyed consider the state’s parks and forests an integral part of the health system. The health benefits of outdoor recreational activities are well documented and Dr. Matt Silvis, sports medic at Penn State Health, adds that outdoor exercise can prevent diseases and ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancer and can slow the effects of aging.
To watch the videos and learn more about these many health benefits, visit PPFF’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/PAParksandForests. The videos are also shared on PPFF’s social media channels.
A Spanish language version of the video will be uploaded by the end of December.
“Spending time outdoors is something we need at all ages,” continues Mowery, “and we encourage sharing of the videos in schools, as part of corporate wellness programs, and among friends and family.”
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